Undercover police could patrol Sheffield city centre at night to protect women from 'predatory' men

Plans have been put forward for undercover police officers to patrol Sheffield city centre at night in a bid to keep women safe.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 12:15 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd October 2021, 12:15 pm

South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Alan Billings, has applied for Government funding for the scheme.

If approved, the money would be spent on having ‘a higher level’ of undercover officers and cops in uniform on the streets than there currently is.

The aim is for officers to identify ‘predatory men’ who pose a risk to women.

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A crime scene on Carver Street in Sheffield city centre, which is always with people on nights out (Archive Pic: Steve Ellis)

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In a statement, Mr Billings said: “The bid aims to provide a higher level of plain clothes and uniformed policing presence in Sheffield city centre on weekends to target predatory men and safeguard vulnerable women.”

Mr Billings has already been successful recently in securing £550,000 to help make women and girls feel safer in public spaces.

The cash was awarded from the Government’s Safer Streets Fund, which was launched earlier this summer and made £23.5 million available to police forces and councils for projects to keep women and girls safe.

In South Yorkshire, most of the cash is to be spent on installing new lighting and CCTV within four parks – the Ponderosa in Upperthorpe, Sheffield; Clifton Park, Rotherham; Dearne Valley Park, Barnsley and Edenthorpe Park, Doncaster.

Mr Billings said: “Making the streets a safer place for women and girls is a top priority for me and has been highlighted in my transitional Police and Crime Plan for this year. Everyone has a right to feel safe and to be safe in their communities and I am pleased that the Government has also recognised this and is providing us with opportunities for additional funding to make public spaces safer.”

Mr Billings said following the murder of Sarah Everard in London earlier this year consultation work was carried out.

“The clear message from the consultation work undertaken is in line with recent national headlines following the sentencing of Sarah Everard’s killer. Those surveyed told us that more needs to be done to target the perpetrators, instead of asking women to change their behaviour and take precautions,” he added.

“We will be working with our partners to develop clear messaging and educational information to challenge behaviours and instigate cultural change to ensure women and girls feel safe on our streets and in public spaces.”